NSGA Announces 2023 Games Theme at Annual Conference
NSGA held its Annual Conference in Pittsburgh last week with education sessions, meetings and awards recognition. State Games representatives and key partners learned more about our Host City and plans for the Games. It also provided a platform to hold a local media event to put our membership on display.
One of the big announcements was the 2023 Games Theme BRIDGING CHAMPIONS THROUGH THE AGES to honor Pittsburgh’s reputation as a city of bridges and champions. The theme also highlights the intergenerational impact of the Senior Games Movement. Four local senior athletes were spotlighted as examples. In the photo above are (l to r): volleyballer Lori Plunkard, who is now 50 and following her 82-year-old mother Carol McCollough into The Games; cyclist and 2022 Personal Best athlete Jack Eckenrode, whose example of fitness and positive outlook has made his large extended family fitness-conscious; and triathlete Lynn Roman who is a high school basketball coach and teacher. Media Director Del Moon shared their stories with the audience and media.
In association business, NSGA Board of Directors elections returned Brad Allen (NC) and Mark Schmitz (MO) for another term, and three new members are Deanna Pack (AL), Rosey Rosander (UT) and Elise Yanders (PA). The body also recognized and thanked departing members Kyle Case, Tom Stillwell and Chris Shirring for their board service.
NSGA Media Awards were also determined by vote of the membership. Oklahoma earned both awards for Games Specialties (Medals and T-Shirt) and other winners were Michigan (Website Design), Huntsman Games/Utah (Health and Wellness Innovative Program) Maryland (Games Promotion $50,000+) and Alaska (Games Promotion $49,000 and under). Congratulations to our dedicated Member Games!
2022 National Senior Games earns Economic Impact Award
We are honored to have the 2022 National Senior Games presented by Humana recognized as the 2022 Champions of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism Award by Sports Destination Management Magazine.
As the largest qualified multisport event in the world for adults 50 and over, our Games generate a great deal of economic benefit to the host city. This year we estimate the Greater Fort Lauderdale region saw $30 million in economic impact. This is not the first time we have earned this award, but it feels just as good every time. Thanks to Sports Destination Management for the great work they do to promote the event industry.
NSGA CEO Resigns, Hlavacek Named Interim
The National Senior Games Association (NSGA) announces the resignation of President and CEO Marc T. Riker, who served in the position since 2012.
The Board also named NSGA’s Chief Operating Officer Sue Hlavacek as interim President and CEO. Hlavacek will lead the team to prepare for 2023 National Senior Games presented by Humana, and a search for a permanent CEO will take place in 2023. “Sue has been with NSGA for nearly ten years and has a wealth of experience on all phases of our association,” Shinnock said. “She is the ideal person to lead staff to prepare for the next Games, and it allows our organization the time to make the best choice for the next CEO.”
2023 Registration is Underway
The 2023 National Senior Games presented by Humana is less than eight months away and the window has opened for qualified athletes to register for The Games!
The first athlete to complete registration is Renee Zavolta of Pittsburgh! She actually registered TWO teams for the 2023 National Senior Games Softball Tournament being held in Columbus, Ohio May 3-7. Her teams qualified in 2022 at the Pennsylvania Senior Games.
Qualified Athlete Notifications continue to go out as soon as NSGA receives and confirms each state’s competition results. NSGA updates the website regularly, and athletes can check a state’s results status by visiting the Registration Page and clicking on the blue box. If your state and sport are checked as complete, you can proceed to register. Please visit the Registration Page for complete information.
No Stress, No Worry and Guaranteed Low Rates by Booking Online with Us!
The online Hotels and Lodging link allows athletes to search and book rooms from a special block of participating hotels that provide us with lowest available rates. Team Travel Source (TTS) promises lowest guaranteed rates for individuals or groups and a smooth process to book your stay.
See all of the benefits on the 2023 Hotels and Lodging Page. There’s also a great giveaway- athletes who book rooms through TTS will be automatically entered for a chance to win a Mediterranean Cruise for Two!
2023 Venue Spotlight: Track & Field
Track and Field competitions (All Track & Jump Events) will be held at South Fayette Track & Field Stadium in McDonald, located 13 miles from the convention center. It was constructed in 2006 and is located in South Fayette Township in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The stadium is a 5,040-seat facility and contains an artificial turf multipurpose playing field surrounded by an eight-lane running track with a polyurethane synthetic surface.
Please note that the Throwing Events for the 2023 National Senior Games will be held at Robert Morris University’s Island Sports Center/P3R Track & Field Complex in northwest Pittsburgh.
Blast Off to New Adventure in Pittsburgh!
A number of attractions, exhibitions, restaurants and more opened in Pittsburgh recently, highlighted by Moonshot Museum, Pennsylvania’s first space museum and the only museum in the world to focus exclusively on career and community readiness for the 21st century space industry.
Moonshot Museum is co-located at the headquarters of space robotics company Astrobotic in Pittsburgh’s Northside. This Only in Pittsburgh attraction provides hands-on, interactive encounters as soon as visitors enter the museum. Space explorers of all ages and backgrounds will marvel at the sight of the assembly of a real lunar spacecraft while also navigating one interconnected experience that puts them in charge of a simulated space mission.
When it comes to space exploration, why stop at the Moon? Mars: The Next Giant Leap, opens at the Carnegie Science Center on Nov. 19. The new exhibition launches visitors on a 300-million-mile journey to Mars, where they will explore relevant, contemporary issues that surround space exploration. This new 7,400 square foot permanent exhibition gallery is the most expansive new experience added since the Science Center opened in 1991.
August Wilson House officially opened its doors on Aug. 13. Located at 1727 Bedford Ave., in the Hill District neighborhood, the restored childhood home of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson is now an arts center for programming, workshops and panel discussions while also serving as a destination for resources related to Wilson’s life and work.
Rolling out four hundred cans of beer per minute, Pittsburgh Brewing Co.’s new stainless steel brewing facility in Creighton features state-of-the-art technology. With brewery tours, a restaurant, an onsite store and a distillery in the works, Pittsburgh Brewing Co. will be an exciting addition to the region’s established craft beverage scene.
Foodies have yet another reason to flock to Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood with the opening of The Parlor Dim Sum, the new restaurant from chef-restaurateur Roger Li. The retro neon sign and unique Mahjong tile art beckons diners to a Cantonese and dim sum menu with elevated flavors. Dim Sum is ordered via checklist including Li’s upscale versions of everything from siu mai to roasted pork buns, crystal shrimp dumplings and fried wontons. An extensive menu of Cantonese BBQ, noodle dishes and from the wok favorites will keep diners coming back (reservations highly recommended).
Learn more about these new Only in Pittsburgh experiences, attractions and more at VisitPITTSBURGH.com.
NOVEMBER ATHLETE OF THE MONTH
Charlotte Sanddal, 100, Helena, Montana
100 Reasons to Keep Swimming By Del Moon
When she first jumped into a pool to learn to swim at the age of 72, Charlotte Sanddal was only thinking about finding a way to stay healthy and active. Then when she began competing in the Montana Senior Olympics in 1994, she earned her first medal and was hooked for life with the community she found.
The retired clinical social worker and World War II veteran has been attacking the lanes ever since. Now at 100, she has amassed several national and world age group records from more than 400 career races, and people are taking notice as she enters the rarified air of a centenarian athlete.
Earlier this year Charlotte swam well as the oldest pool competitor at the 2022 National Senior Games presented by Humana, but because her birthday fell after the actual competition date none of her swims qualified for 100+ records. Last month she rectified that at the Huntsman World Senior Games, which has submitted six of her swim event times for pending FINA world record certification- in the 200, 400 and 800 meter Freestyle, 100 and 200 meter breaststroke and the 100 meter Individual Medley.
But setting records and winning medals, while motivational, were never the biggest factors for her. “It’s a byproduct of doing the right things,” she says. “I’ve gotten records so now I have them. There’s no point in me making it a big thing. You don’t have to pretend you’re someone else. Look at what you’re able to do and enjoy and not just think about breaking somebody’s record.”
Charlotte has always preached choosing an activity that provides enjoyment, and not to worry about competition and results. “If I can do it other people can do it too,” she states. “I’m here not for me, but to let others know to get off their you-know-what and have some fun. If you don’t enjoy it there’s not a point in doing it.”
Noticing that Charlotte had painted her toenails in rainbow colors for her races, we know she is practicing what she preaches about making it fun. To keep herself moving she also loves travel, playing bridge, kayaking, and has been a longtime volunteer at the Montana Historical Society.
The Wall Street Journal has taken notice, recently publishing an informative and revealing profile you can read here. Growing Bolder included her in a recent feature about smashing stereotypes where she explains how central swimming is to her well-being. “I’ve outlived all my ancestors and I owe it to swimming. Swimming gets me up in the morning. I do my stretches and my exercise, and then I get to the pool. That’s what’s good about swimming. You never have to quit. you can keep going and you meet people from all over. It’s a good way to spend your time and it keep me out of the bars.”
Charlotte also notes that her regular swimming workouts helped her overcome a broken hip sustained in a bike accident when she was 88. Instead of spiraling downward, the rebound gave her more confidence to keep pushing.
As she plans her big 2023 meets for the FINA World Masters Championships in Japan and the 2023 National Senior Games in Pittsburgh, she reflects how glad she is that she had the courage to ignore conventional thoughts about aging. “I grew up in a time when you believed everything slowed down when you are 50 and you behaved yourself and looked proper and prim. That doesn’t work anymore.”
SENIOR HEALTH & WELL-BEING
Title IX: Sports Inclusion and Equity Through the Lifespan
The end of the year concludes the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX. This landmark legislation and sports related civil rights law has positively impacted access, equity and justice. Since the passage of the law many have been working toward justice for women and girls in sports. One such organization that has lead this effort is the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF). Throughout the year the National Senior Games joined WSF in celebrating this golden anniversary. The United States Postal Service (USPS) added their special signature when they introduced the Title IX Forever Stamp.
Prior to the law taking effect in 1972 there were pioneers who laid the ground work for sports equity. Many of these athlete participate in the National Senior Games. They persisted in playing sports during a period when there were little or no opportunities for women.
Realizing that the Senior Games Movement has more active female athletes from the Title IX era than any other event or organization, Communications and Media Director Del Moon collected unique stories to inspire younger athletes. Senior Games Ambassador and swimmer Madeline Rabb participated in a National Public Radio Story Corp interview sharing her experiences as a young women of color swimming for her father’s segregated aquatics team in Baltimore. Growing Boulder and NSGA co-hosted a Facebook Live presentation Before Title IX: Tales from Senior Athletes, featuring reflections from Kathrine Switzer, De Ette Sauer, Leurene Hildenbrand, Alice Tym and Jo Dill.
During the 2022 National Senior Games, with a backdrop of “nine” pieces of visual art from the Al Oerter Foundation/ Art Of The Olympians (AOTO) collection, Health and Well-being Director Andrew Walker hosted a community conversation reflecting Olympic values and exploring the intersection of Title IX, civil and human rights with Kathrine Switzer, Author/First Official Women in Boston Marathon/Activist; Carla Ruff, Track Official/ NSGA Board; Bruce Wigo, J.D., Historian, International Swimming Hall of Fame; Erica I. González, Team ONIX Pickleball/Athlete and Cathy Oerter, Art Of The Olympians C.E.O.
Health indicators also trended positive with researchers finding increases in positive body image among girls. The numbers of those who believe sports have positively benefited their health and well-being improved. Many also believed sports helps maintain body weight and keeps their bodies healthy. Physical education, high school athletics, women’s professional sports and sports administration opportunities improved significantly since the inception of the law. During the late ‘60s and early ‘70s there were limited opportunities for girls to participate in sports with only about 7% of high school females participating in varsity sports. Today, literally millions of opportunities exist for physical activity through sports for high school girls. Recent numbers show a 43% participation level.
While greater opportunities exist today, there is room for improvement in retaining girls who start in scholastic sports but later quit. And girls high school sports lags behind boys when it comes to `funding. Closing the gender gaps in sports involvement between women and men’s sports is still a goal to be achieved. One opportunity that shows promise is based in intergenerational coaching. Women of the Senior Games and their male allies can create opportunities to amplify and sustain the impact of Title IX through introducing their particular sports to younger athletes. Recently, National Senior Games Ambassador Leurene Hildenbrand started coaching a group of girls in the game of pickleball. And not unlike other volunteer experiences, Ambassador Hildenbrand gets as much or even more out this experience.
NSGA salutes our female pioneer athletes this year, and every year!
Support NSGA on Giving Tuesday, November 29th
GivingTuesday is a global movement that reimagines a world built upon shared humanity with a common mission to build a world where generosity is part of everyday life. Every act of generosity counts, and everyone has something to give.
If you agree that the Senior Games Movement is a vital force to get older adults moving and enjoying healthy, active lifestyles, please consider making a tax deductible donation to the National Senior Games Association. THANK YOU!
NSG OFFICIAL APPAREL
2023 National Senior Games Merchandise Now Available Online!
We’re excited to announce that 2023 National Senior Games merchandise is now available from the NSGA Online Store!
Also, have you regretted not getting that 2022 shirt or hat you wanted in Fort Lauderdale? Want to give your favorite senior athlete a great holiday gift? You can still get 2022 National Senior Games wearables at the NSGA Online Store, too!
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